Archive for the ‘#writingwednesday’ Tag

Interview with Loredana Gasparotto   2 comments

Today’s interview is with Loredana Gasparotto. Loredana is my first interview with a film maker and screen writer. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.
Loredana Gasparotto PictureMy name is Loredana Gasparotto. I was born and raised in a small, medieval and enchanting Italian town called Bassano Del Grappa. Bassano is a beautiful place
full of history and beauty, however it always felt too small, like a pair of tight

The land I longed for was far, far away: it was America. As I landed in NYC at the end of 1999, I felt immediately at home. I’ve been living in NY for the past 17 years and it’s been a long, intricate and adventurous journey that took me to write Pentimento, my first feature film. This long life journey brought me to recognize and completely accept who I am: I am an artist. But what does it mean being an artist in America, the land of opportunities?


Well, being true to yourself and your art in America, where conformity and success
are measured in terms of popularity and money is a true challenge. My questions
were and still are: is it finding buyers for my art what makes me a true artist? Or
does it turn me into a salesperson and a product instead of an artist? I realized that I
had to set aside all those marketing values. They did not belong to me and I did not
belong to them. Being an artist for me is the freedom to be myself. Free to search
and free to fail without the worry of being liked by “consumers”.

I wrote Pentimento with those ideals in mind. It might sounds heroic, but its’s a
continuous struggle. And why did I become a “writer”? Something that I never
liked in the first place? Because I had to. I had to write my own ideas in order to
turn them into moving images, in order to tell stories through filmmaking.


At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was forced to learn to write to make movies. I had to accept that it was a
necessary step in order to communicate my ideas and produce them into film.


Tell us about your writing process.

Initially I wrote scripts following the process my teacher taught me, which is to
begin writing a film treatment first.

Well, let me tell you: it probably works if you have to pitch your idea to a studio
executive, but I don’t think it’s the most creative nor the most fulfilling way to
write. I personally follow the Sylvester Stallone’s method, lol: Write and just write
until you get the first draft of the script done! I thought it was ridiculous at first, but
it works! I finished the first draft of my second feature in 2 days ( however, I had
been thinking about it for 10 years� ) I just let the protagonist go on her journey
without any judgments. It was a fun and wild ride� loved it!

Loredana Self-Portrait

What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Well I would think that my favorite genre is thriller and comedy. I believe these are
the two genre I am drawn to by default. Most of the stories and scenes I write are
scary or bizarre.
What are you passionate about?

Pentimento PosterI am passionate about honesty and originality. I watch tons of films and TV shows.
When I see something that stands out I am the happiest and more excited person


What is something you cannot live without?
Music, films, the sun, coffee, my iMac, my iPhone, my bike and sleep. Love to
sleep! �



Where do you get the inspiration for your films?

I get my inspiration from life. I came across so many weird things and crazy
people, that I can say with all honestly: life is much weirder than fiction.

Pentimento Preview


Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing
and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Weirdly enough, I keep repeating the action of having the main characters looking
outside windows. What’s up with that? I have that in all my movies! Definitely a
cycle that needs to be broken. Dream sequences are also a biggie. Seriously. All my
movies have dream sequences. I don’t even plan to create them consciously. I just
put them in . I think it probably has to do with my night dreams. I have crazy
intense dreams basically every night. So I guess I tend to recreate my daily life
dynamics. Usually all my characters become conscious through a bizarre dream
experience. Almost like a prophetic or paranormal perceptions.


Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

I did try to write stories following an outline, but it never really worked for me. I
mean it always forced the story and it was not an organic progression. When I
began following my characters instead, everything fell into place. As I follow
them, the story creates itself.


Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?
I usually don’t begin a story with that in mind. Usually the beginning is just about
the journey of the character. However, I believe it’s the ending of the story that
defines its message. How is the heroine/hero’s journey going to end? Would she or
he find what they were looking for or not? The ending will define the moral of the
story as well as the philosophical views of the writer.


What do you want the readers to think or feel after watching in your films?

I’d like them to leave with a new prospective on how stories can be told and about
how life could be. I’d like them to be surprised.


What influenced your decision to self-produce?

Well, as a first time feature film director I had a super tough time finding investors
to make the film.

I searched for a very long time. I wrote proposals, met people etc… However, it is
extremely difficult to find individuals who’ll dare to invest in your ideas without
the guarantee of financial gain. And of course the film business is very
unpredictable. We can’t ever really predict what will be a hit or a flop. At the end,
I realized I had to invest my own money.With that, comes the pros and cons.
One of the major cons is that the production value of the film is not as
sophisticated as the one of a multimillion dollar production. Also the production
and post production phases are incredibly longer.

However you have enormous freedom to create. And I truly believe that my best
ideas came out of this process.

Creativity is the daughter of scarcity. If I’d had access to all the tools I wished for, I
wouldn’t have had to squeeze my brain to come up with new creative ways to solve a

I truly believe that Pentimento is a unique film because I was forced to invent
solutions to all the productions issues I encountered. I’m actually very please with


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-producing?

It’s definitely the creative control and originality that comes with it.


Who designed your posters?

I actually made the choice to do it myself. I was inspired by the posters of Wong
kar Wai’s film posters like Fallen Angels and Chunking Express.

I decided to utilize the technique of mashup to create an original poster, by the
way still in the making. I utilized this technique for my previous art work. I think
it’s a good fit for the film.


What sort of research do you do for your films?
Research is one of my favorite aspects of writing. I learn so much in the process.
For my second feature I am researching a varieties of topics from insights on the
NYC real estate market to various species of NYC BUGS. From Saint Francis, the
magic flute and Snow White to dumpsters recycle. Did you know that dumpster
recycling in NY is the new Trend? So much fun!


How do people interested in your work find you?

Interview with Ellie Douglas   Leave a comment

Today’s interview is with Ellie Douglas. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself.


Douglas Author PicMy name is Ellie Douglas, I live in Auckland, New Zealand, and have a wonderful hubby who earns enough so I can stay at home with the kids and write my novels 🙂 I have four ankle-biting horrors, twin girls and two boys, I scored the lottery with them 🙂


At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I knew I wanted to be a writer from a young, very young age. I wrote my first story when I was 15 but I didn’t do anything with it. Then many years later I picked writing back up and haven’t put it down since. No intentions of stopping at all.


I don’t think real writers can ever turn off the tap. Tell us about your writing process.

My writing process is a little, well, lets just say eccentric. I write when I want, and when the mood strikes. I could be laying in bed struggling to sleep. So I get up and write. I could be at the beach and the mood strikes so I start writing. I have no outlines or plots that I work from, I start at the beginning and build from there, even I don’t know what the ending will be until I finish the novel.


What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

Horror for both reading it and writing it.


What are you passionate about?

My family are what I am most passionate about.


What is something you cannot live without?

My kids


When you are not writing, what do you do?

Douglas hounded1smaller.pngI like to read, a lot. I also love watching TV shows. I’m a also a big fan of movies. I also create book covers, professionally. So when not writing I can be found doing those other things and, of course, spending time with my kids 🙂


Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you? If so, in what way?



Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

A few places, sometimes I get them from the book covers I create, sometimes I get them from movies and/or other books. Mostly I get them from just ideas that rush through my head like a steam train out of control.


What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I do a lot of research, location — weapons, clothing, interior design, exterior …. Every novel I have ever written has been thoroughly researched. I even had to research psychology and doctors, phobias and other mental illnesses.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I’d say be afraid, of being grossed out and scared. It is my aim to do just that 🙂


Do you have a special place where you write?

Not really, I do tend to sway more towards, writing in my lounge. Kicking back on my lazy-boy, extending my legs and using my laptop.


Douglas Zombie Dogs

Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

I guess if you call Zombies a theme as I have a tendency to write more about them than other themes.


Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Douglas Coloring BookCharacter driven, because I believe building the ultimate character to give the reader the joy of knowing someone that isn’t real yet feels very real and realistic at the same time is gold.



Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

I am a discovery writer, why? It is just how I prefer to write, no real explanation to why, sorry. It is what it is 🙂



I totally understand. What’s the fun of knowing what’s coming next … even if you are the writer. I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

First, thank God, it is summer. I’d have my laptop. I’d have movies and books, far too many to list specific titles, but they are all horrors.


What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

I want readers to be scared. I want them to be grossed out. I want them to feel excitement and to fall in love with the characters. To travel with the characters both good and evil, to experience what my characters do through the eyes of the readers.


What influenced your decision to self-publish?

Mostly impatience and the flexibility of being self-published. That need to get my story out now, instead of a year after it has been finished.


There are people believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

Neither, because neither of those are true. Traditional publishing will always be there, and self-publishing will as well. That is what I believe, hey I could be totally wrong, ignorant to believe what I do, it is what it is though 🙂


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

The greatest advantage is to have what you worked hard on, to be on the market for sale straight after it is finished.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?


Not a great deal really. If you sell the rights to your book you could be underselling yourself. Keeping the rights to your book and nominating the prices you wish to sell, are the things you can’t get if you are traditionally published. But being traditionally published has its perks too. It would be nice to experience both so I could answer this properly.


With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

Yes, it is increasingly difficult to be seen. The only way I know how to increase visibility is to constantly advertise. Promotion is the best advice I could give to any author, both self-published and traditionally. Word of mouth is top of course. But overall it is pumping out the links to the books you have on a continuous basis. Remember you are competing with millions of other authors. So it is even harder to be seen. Don’t be discouraged. Keep on going 🙂



Who designed your book cover/s?

I designed my own book covers. I do it professional as my regular job.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?


Yes they can, provided you have a good editor and beta readers, not family members and not friends. But professionally paid services that will polish your book to it’s highest. They don’t come cheap, so save before you even finish writing a book. Save hard. But, it is vital that you hire a professional editor. And a proof reader.


Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.


No I don’t. Not yet, but one day soon I will.



Where do readers find you and your books?   Hounded (Amazon) YouTube Channel Facebook LinkedIn Pinterest Instagram Twitter

Midnight Sun Giveaway   1 comment

thewillowbranchAlaskans really love the Midnight Sun, which is the opposite of the darkest days of the year. So in honor of the sun barely dipping below the horizon for the next few nights, The Willow 


Branch and Mirklin Wood are free. Get the first two books in an epic fantasy series at an incredible “price.”

This is a rare opportunity to get Mirklin Wood free.

June 20 – June 22

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Interview with Samantha Ryan Chandler   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Samantha Ryan Chandler. Welcome to the blog. How did you get the idea of your 1st book?

Chandler Author PicThe book is not about an idea. It is about my life. If I had not lived it, I can assure you, I would never think what I went through was possible. I had to write my story. There were two motivating factors in writing such a raw and vulnerable account of my life. I needed my three girls to know the truth about their mommy, and as a child of God, I had to see where He was in my life in times that just could not be understood. How could evil overtake me? I had to know God was involved when it looked like pure evil. Like Job of the Old Testament, all was lost in a breath. I described the 22-year marriage to a very wealth man that decided to destroy me, taking my child and trying to throw me on the street with nothing … all in the name of greed.

In the chapter titled: When Pollyanna Marries Darth Vader, I encountered massive distortion powered by ‘people of important’ and money that sullied my name. I cannot allow someone to rewrite truth so they can win in the name of greed. In a blink of the eye, I watched my whole world change.


Why Pollyanna and Darth Vaer as lead characters?

I had to! Darth Vader is a very rich and prominent man in the large city we lived in. He could buy judges as well as “truth”. He planned my demise for five years prior to executing his plan. I did not know who to trust and lived in fear. I truly thought for years he was capable of killing me. DV loves to take people to court. I avoided this by giving everyone mentioned fake names such as Darth Vader. Even my children are called 1st Bably, Middle Baby and Baby Baby.

After 12 years since this all happened, I still sleep with my bedroom door locked.


Wow, what an incredible thing to go through. Tell us about your writing process?

Chandler A Love Story CoverWell, I must say my style could be called peculiar as I did not write to a reader. I wrote to myself. I started with times in my life that were unsettling or horrific. These earlier times, I did not know God, but I could easily see as I wrote that He knew me. He was there in a particular time that should by all accounts have taken my life. In writing, I started to see I had a purpose. Not to spoil the end of my book, but I must say the last sentence is truly the most beautiful thing I have ever said. If you were to rush to the back and read first…it would not have the impact that leads a reader to understand the emotion behind it. Having said this, I love to hear from readers. All I ask is, if you read my story please have an emotion…please feel something. If not, then I have failed.

Was it your intention to write a story with a message or a moral?
Having written all of the above, this causes a pause.  It is both. I had to write my story so truth about me and my character had a voice. I cannot allow someone to sully my reputation and the way I lived out my beliefs. Maybe the message was for DV…maybe about me. There is a moral message, evil does not win. My book has scriptures woven throughout my writings. These were scriptures I held on to as I was falling down the hole that I was pushed down. I felt like Alice in Wonderland when she saw things that made no sense. Scripture is God’s promises to us. If Samantha says something there is room for it to change or not happen. If God says it…it is not a suggestion.
 I do a good amount of TV and radio interviews and invariably I hear from listeners. Many are reaching out to know there is life at the end of your “trial”. I always give out a way to contact me, email and my cell phone. I can remember a time after a TV interview, I got a call on my cell phone from someone in audience. I pulled my car over to a parking lot and just listened. She needed someone to talk to.  I didn’t have answers to her problem but I could listen.
What is something you cannot live without?
No hesitation or thought…my three girls.
Do you ever have writers block?
Yes, I have it now.  I started writing a book with my husband of 1 year. It is fiction and loosely based on our lives prior to meeting. David writes a chapter to me and then I pick up where I think it should go and send it back to him. I have not heard of this style before but it is making for an interesting story as I do not know what he will write. All I can tell you that we both know, is that; the male character sees my character entering a post office and that I have a mail box. He then begins to write to me and I do not know who he is. It’s a love story.
Do you write specifically for a Christian audience?
I am a Christian but I do not mention this except when I quote New Testament. I made it about God and me. I have had Jewish people read my book.
What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?
I have a review on Amazon that comes to mind. Please remember that my cover is my hand reaching up to the Heavens with a hand coming down holding mine. Incidentally, this is my hand on the cover. Look at the title…does it not spell out God?  The reviewer said my book had too much “God” in it!!  I was stunned they even bought it but more shocked they bothered to criticize it for it’s purpose. It was 1 star.
Who designed you book cover?
I did the theme and my “middle baby” did the art and the photography.  I have a small chapter on seeing God’s hand come down and hold mine while I was in labor…for the same baby that did the art. On the back cover has  me in a cemetery sitting on a tombstone that has a cross behind my shoulder. We went to New Orleans where I am from to a very old cemetery that all are monuments. The hard bound copy has this at the bottom of the page, “We do not fight for victory – We fight from victory
Any more question you might need or have?
404 824 0229 cell






Interview with Temba Magorimbo   1 comment

Today’s interview is with Temba Magorimbo. Welcome to the blog. I love interviewing authors from cultures I’m less familiar with because I learn a lot. I also have to say this interview made me laugh. You’re a very funny guy. Tell us something about yourself.

Temba Author PicMy name is Temba Magorimbo. I am a male author. My twitter handle is @_the_chapter6k but it should have been @_the_author6k. Misspelling, call it that. I am from Zimbabwe here in Africa. You don’t know where Zimbabwe is? That is the country which broke world records by having the worst recorded inflation outside a war zone. I work for the government as an accounting assistant. I shuffle financial and administrative duties at a school. I am married, yes to Itayi. We have two daughters whose marriages are going to the highest bidder, offers? Did anyone say a cruise yacht?


Ah, you have a sense of humor. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I started writing when I was around ten to eleven years old. I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. I just created stories or I extended those I had heard. I liked pen dancing patterns on paper. My father was not amused. I tried writing mystery novels between the ages of fourteen and seventeen.


Yeah, my parents always wanted me to do my homework instead. Tell us about your writing process.

Oh boy! My writing process is going through a metamorphosis. I used to plan, strategise then put pen on paper. Now I find snippets of action coming to my mind. I record these. I end up with ten percent of the book in abeyance for some period before I start work. I use a storyline to guide me though I don’t split that into chapters.


What is your favourite genre … to read … to write?

Romance is what makes me a writer, the contemporary variety. Other than that I would choose to write the general fiction category. That allows a writer to put in a little bit of the cheating wife, the squeamish detective and the hit-and-run driver. I read all types of fiction except horror or erotic.


What are you passionate about?

Temba Boomerang

I like to read and research. I like my game of cricket. I watch other sports when time allows. I also enjoy seeing winter sports that include skiing plus English soccer.


Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

If I knew that I would have written a guide to inspiration for would-be writers. Inspiration just pops up like a dog on a wet beach. I just get inspired maybe by an article or a glimpse of an event then off I go creating fictitious situations and characters.


What sort of research do you do for your novels?

I do detailed research. No reader wants to find out that the author is off key on any topic. Of course you can always write a disclaimer that the author’s views are their own and they cannot be held accountable for errors. Or you can call it an error of judgement. I try to avoid all that.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I would say I am a fiction contemporary romance author heading for the top wherever the top is be it a sand dune, anthill or Mount Kilimanjaro. Maybe I am headed for the top of Mount Pinatubo, geez, let no volcano start when I am past the point of no-return.


Do you have a special place where you write?

My bedroom is where it is peaceful. That way I do not allow television programs to disturb me. After all some of them are repeats. At times I even write at the office if the ideas keep popping in.


Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?


Yes. I should not find the answer because that would be bad for business. Is there any pension for retired writers?


Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Temba Butterscotch

I would suggest that I am plot driven. Characters just hang on to the gravy wagon as I write. Though once in a while I come up with the ideas of a strong character or protagonist, I always plot and plan before I put myself to write.


Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer?  Why?

Outlines are like playing tennis. They keep you within the rules of the game. You then wonder what the umpire or line judge was thinking of.


What point of view do you prefer to write, and why?

I swoop for third point of view. It allows me to snoop without being detected.


I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

I will bring a laptop, a smart phone or/and a tablet. Make sure there is internet connectivity even via a satellite link. I will need to see CNN News everyday because that is where some ideas come from. The Discovery Channel and National Geographic Wild will keep me entertained. After I am bruised by the characters, I will need to know why the wildebeest keep crossing the same crocodile-infested river between Tanzania and Kenya. Of course, I need hear the verbal roasting of some unlucky character or vehicle by Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson and his comrades in crime. Then I need to know what is trending on the international finance/economic section.



Africa is apparently better connected to the Internet than Alaska. Talk about your books individually.

Temba Child Of Promise

The latest are the most remembered. A writer’s memory ages with the date they created new fiction. The latest is BOOMERANG about a guy who likes to use a chisel on wood while keeping his distance from other folk. They call him weird. He is befriended by the ruling class who take on his creations while his own try to fleece him. He loses the chieftainship. He shifts to a place 200 kilometres away and marries to produce a family. His blood brother is a rural dancer and drummer of repute. He has a reputation for liking ladies and beer. He leaves a trail of broken-hearted and pregnant women. Then time swings to the present. Who fathered the boy that Richard adopted? LAKE OF MY HEART is about Trevor who likes to go up the mountain even when the storm is heading the opposite way. Of humble beginnings, he burns the midnight oil up the real estate ladder then he meets a girl, Naomi with dimples and tantrums/short or explosive temper. His heart is broken by this charming lady more than four times? Will their marriage survive? PATA – PATA [SOFT FOOTSTEPS] is about Sandra who is love lone now that she is a single mother in a society where being a single mother reduces marital chances. She goes to a couples’ forum and play acts at marriage with a roving bachelor who has a live wire of a girlfriend called Tina. Tina is not amused. What will happen? She has sharp nails. BUTTERSCOTCH is about a man with luck in getting high paid jobs yet they are on contract. He loses his first date when she dumps him. He is married with children when she returns to him. She wants them to live together once outside the country in Alberta. Who of his married ex-girlfriend mother of two and his wife is joining him in Calgary, Alberta?


What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?

Life is a struggle. Those who hang on will tell about the storm that drowned many. They will explain that there are no fish seedlings.


I like that. What influenced your decision to self-publish?

The traditional publishing houses liked making entry into the publishing field to be like being asked to attend dinner at the White House. Dinner tastes the same at the Waldorf Astoria or at a beach with white sand.


You and I would get along great. There are people who believe that traditional publishing is on the ropes, that self-publishing is the future. Do you agree? Why?

Yes, rather digital publishing is getting to the top. Gone are the days when the publisher will be at pains to explain that their print run of your book, that one you said was a bestseller, did not sell. Traditional publishing is the stage coach resisting the internal combustible engine and the melancholy model T-Ford. These are the days of reading devices that are hand held which can contain an entire library with less than 40GB of hard drive.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

Temba Pata-Pata

It is unique. The writer can change and edit as the book sells. Whereas if a million copies


are printed and there is a need to edit it becomes extremely embarrassing. Self publishing gives the readers/buyers the choice of deciding who goes to the #1 list and why?


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

They have to behave like professionals and treat their work like assets. They may miss out on brushing shoulders with agents, librarians and booksellers. Most of them are tongue-tied anyway. Books cannot be mass produced. They have to be created one at a time.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Yes they can do well given the right financial platform. It costs a lot to do editing, book jacket, interior design and to other works because they have to be done by dedicated professionals. These same professionals are at par with those doing the same tasks for the traditional publishing market.


Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

No I don’t. The last time I tried that they accused me of being a Bolshevik communist.


Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

 I am a Christian. I do not write for the Christian market. I write what can be read by the general market. I have read books about Allah akbar so why not write for the general market.


What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

 You need to separate your church and your writing. You need to separate your Christian beliefs and your writings without denying the Christ.


Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

 Yeah I do though I do not pronounce some of my staunch Christian beliefs on paper. You have to be principled. That is why there are no bedroom scene descriptions.


Do you feel that Christian writers are expected to conform to some standards that are perhaps not realistic to the world?

 Yes and no. Christian writers should remember they are not preacher bodies. They are writers like the rest of the world. Christian writers are bound by the Biblical moral code.


Do you feel that Christian writers should focus on writing really great story or on presenting the gospel clearly in everything they write? Or is it possible to do both?

 A great Christian fiction is told in story form. If you decide to take the pulpit to the writing boardroom then make sure you explain the book is a FICTION title. You can always reverse the roles. If anyone interviews you, just say, “No comments.”


If you write speculative fiction, do you find that the Christian reader community is accepting of that genre?

 They will not. However they will be loading speculative fiction from non-Christian writers onto their kindles or kobo.


Yeah, there is that double standard. How do readers find you and your books?






Interview with Zara Altair   3 comments

Today’s interview is with Zara Altair. Welcome to the blog. Tell us something about yourself. 

Profile photoLela, thank you for inviting me to this conversation. I live just outside of Portland, Oregon, in the United States. When I’m not working on my stories, I’m still writing. I contribute semantically optimized content for several websites and blog article series. Right now, I am also ghostwriting a thriller.

I’ve taught writing in various roles from kindergarten through university. For the past 10 years, I’ve been helping other story writers with developmental editing and script review.



At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer? 

I’ve been telling stories since I was a toddler and began writing stories when I was around five years old. At that same time, I met a writer of children’s books and knew I wanted to be a writer.



Tell us about your writing process.

The process is a mix. Characters come to me and want their story told. I get to know my character and, for the historical mysteries, I do a great deal of research.

For planning, I do a three-point plan: Beginning, middle, and end. Then I fill in the chapters that get the story from the beginning to the end. Those chapter notes are loose ideas. I find that as I write, characters do and say things that move the story in unexpected ways. I do not compose the story linearly. If a scene pops into my head, I write it while it is fresh in my mind. A similar process may happen with bits of dialog. So-and-so has to say this, and then fit it into the story.  But, in the main, I write from the beginning to the end, fitting in those already written scenes at the appropriate place in the story line.

Writing time is uninterrupted. No phone conversations. No quick checks of email. I want to get “in the flow” and stay there during writing time.


What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

The Used Virgin: An Argolicus Mystery (Argolicus Mysteries) by [Altair, Zara]I read a lot of thrillers, crime, police procedurals, some legal thrillers. I also read science fiction.


I love writing mysteries. I think it is the puzzle that intrigues me. What is the puzzle? Who is involved? Who seems like the perfect foil? What are the clues? Where do I plant them in the story?



Where do you get the inspiration for your novels?

I find that reading history of the time of my stories, early 6th Century Italy, provides great inspiration for the circumstances of the plot and what issues surround characters. Some of the reading is fairly dry, but as a storyteller my response may be: What the bishops were running a slave trade? The area was known for horse breeding? Sometimes these idea sparks come from scholarly footnotes, not the main text. I’m always looking for juicy situations.


Because the Emperor Justinian did everything he could to remove all traces of the Ostrogoths in Italy, research is always a challenge. From quotidian details like meals and clothing to palace intrigue sources are scant. A perfect example is the mosaic of the palace in Sant’Apollonare Nuovo. Justinian had the original mosaic, believed to be Theoderic and his court, removed and replaced with the curtains. If you look closely you can see hands on three of the pillars which are left over from the original mosaic.


My central character, Argolicus, was a real person at the time of Theodoric’s reign in Italy. He is mentioned nine times in Cassiodorus’ Variae (iii 11, iii 12, iii 29, iii 30, iii 33, iv 22, iv 25, iv 29, iv 42) as praefectus urbis of Rome. His childhood and ongoing friendship with Cassiodorus come from my imagination.



What sort of research do you do for your novels?

The Peach Widow: An Argolicus Mystery (Argolicus Mysteries) by [Altair, Zara]I have bookshelves full of historical references. Conference proceedings bound into books, sometimes including lively question and answer sessions. Many of the books are in Italian. One conference may have presentations in English, French, Italian, etc. I struggle through quotes in Latin and Greek. My one comparison to Shakespeare is that, as Ben Jonson said, I have “small Latin and less Greek.” I sound out the Greek. It’s like a kid just learning to read.


I traveled to Italy, to interview scholars at the Universitá di Bologna, who graciously answered many questions and supplied me with 30 kilos of books to further my research. Two questions I had were inadvertently answered by just being there. I found a small cookbook in a bookstore about the food of the Ostrogoths, and a bartender gave me a local journal that spoke of an underground café, which for story purposes, was the place where the king stored the wheat and bread that he gave out.



If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

My stories are traditional mysteries set in a long-ago time, a time when the Ostrogoths ruled Italy. The main character straddles the two worlds of Ostrogoth and Italian culture. There were no police or private detectives, and murder was not a crime under either legal system.



Do you have a special place where you write?

Yes, my desk. Sometimes it is covered with reference books.




Are you a plot driven or character driven writer? Why?

Mysteries have a standard plot trope. Beyond that, I play with the characters.








What influenced your decision to self-publish?

My short story, The Used Virgin, had been sitting on my computer for several years. I decided to put it out there for anyone who might be interested. Little did I know at the time, how much I had to learn about creating an author platform and communicating with readers and potential readers.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

Getting the book out is a relatively short process. The author has control of publication.


With the number of self-published books increasing by such a huge rate, it is really difficult for authors to make their books stand out. How do you go about this?

I don’t think so much about getting the books to stand out as finding readers who want to read the type of story I write. That thinking comes from working as a writer in the Search Engine Optimization world. Business owners, that’s me as an author, can spend energy on ranking, or they can optimize to engage with customers. It’s a similar approach.

Ask me again in two years.



Who designed your book cover/s?

I feel fortunate to work with Ryan J. Rhoades of Reformation Designs. After talking with him about the series, he created covers that captured the essence of the time. And, each cover has an important clue hidden in the details. We did that for fun.

Although I had worked with him on other design projects, his branding tends to look very modern. I was hesitant at the beginning but as soon as I saw his first cover I knew I had made a good decision.



Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditional published? If so, how do you think we should go about that?

Absolutely. Write the best story you can. Find an editor familiar with your genre. Hire a cover designer who understands your book. Choose cover material and paper that match the feel of your book. Self-published authors who put in attention to detail in all phases of book production have no worries about high-quality.


Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

Nothing so formal as a cooperative. I have been in writing groups for years starting with the Russian River Writers in California in the late 1970s.

My current writing group is small. When I moved to Oregon from California four years ago, I looked at a number of groups but most of them were not a fit. I started corresponding with a contact from a group that had folded and we chatted about our “ideal” group. It took us almost a year to form the group. We have written rules, a trial period, and a tight community.

We meet twice a month. We bring printed copies of the pages. We take turns reading each other’s passage aloud. After the reading each individual comments. The writer leaves with written comments and suggested edits from each member.

The comments and suggestions are instrumental in honing the final story. I recommend a writing group for any writer. What we do with suggestions is up to the writer.


How do readers find you and your books?




Amazon Author Page

Author Website

Facebook Author Fan Page






Interview with Raven H. Price   3 comments

Today’s interview is with Raven H. Price, who I have been retweeting often. Welcome to the blog, Raven. Tell us something about yourself.

Raven Price Author PicI am from Leesburg, GA, a small town a few miles north of Albany, GA.  I am a wife, mother and grandmother who retired from government service in 2014, to write and travel.


At what point, did you know you wanted to be a writer?

In 2010, I was inspired to write a fantasy/romance based on my own life’s story.  I lived through several heart-breaking events and felt sharing them in an entertaining manner would inspire and encourage other women to be more careful with relationships and seek a life with Jesus first.



What is your favorite genre … to read … to write?

I love to read fantasy and romance novels so, when I began writing, it was natural for me to incorporate the two genres.



I’m a big fan of writers who write the books they want to read. What are you passionate about?

Raven Price The PlanShowing people love, respect and acceptance regardless of their beliefs, lifestyles or sexual orientations.



Have you written any books that made a transformative effect on you?

Yes.  While I was writing THE PLAN, I realized if I didn’t write truthfully as well as in a fictional manner I would lose a reader’s interest.  I found myself crying many times and came to realize being a judgmental person had to die.  It was then I promised myself to be open-minded and show respect to people as much as possible.



Do you find yourself returning to any recurring themes within your writing and, if so, are you any closer to finding an answer?

Sort of.  The Plan, my first book is a stand-alone, but the other three are a trilogy call The Paradigm Shift Trilogy.   Convicted (Book 1) has an abusive theme involving physical abuse, Convinced (Book 2) has a mental abuse twist where Commissioned (Book 3) is a fantasy explaining why physical and mental issues are intertwined.



I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaska cabin for a month. It’s summer so you don’t have worry about freezing to death. I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray. What do you do while you’re there and what do you bring with you? If you’re bringing books, what are they?

Raven Price ConvictedI usually write early in the mornings and after lunch I love sitting quietly in a natural environment.  Communing with what is around me clears my mind and opens my heart for a more enjoyable relationship with Jesus.  I like reading so I’d probably have a few romance novels to read in the evenings, such as Nora Roberts & J.D. Robb books.



Talk about your books individually.

Rather than talk about my books I will post the blurbs.


THE PLAN: As a young child, Rachel Parody has a very special relationship with Jesus. By his side, she explores a magical place, is comforted, and encouraged to not live in fear. Over time, Rachel and Jesus lose contact and evil demons use their time of separation to steer her into the ways of the world. Not until her heart is completely broken and her mind is convinced she is headed for hell will she seek a face-to-face encounter again with her Saviour. At the age of thirty-four, Rachel learns to rely and depend on her childhood friend once again. He teaches her the truth and then introduces her to the love of her life.
Because of her horrific past, many years later, Rachel’s need to be a good example for young women in her church drives her to worry over their romantic influences. When she notices a series of books and movies enslaving them with lustful desires, her interest gets piqued. After investigating the books, these stories don’t repulse her but become a catalysis for Rachel to share the love of Jesus with these girls. But the fantasy appeal of the characters enthralls the girls more than helping them see there is a true immortal named, Jesus. She tried many ways to share how this love story between a mortal and a vampire was written from references out of the Bible’s ‘Song of Solomon.’ but no one would listen.
Once Rachel realizes her efforts were futile, she asks Jesus to calm her obsession and send someone who could reach the younger generation with His loving nature. Instead of sending Rachel help, Jesus convinces her to write her own story. Exposing her past was not in Rachel’s plan, but giving her life away as an example was His.
Will Rachel tell everything?


CONVICTED (Book 1 of The Paradigm Shift Trilogy)

Raven Price ConvincedThis book was previously published as The Conversion (Book 1 of the Harvesting Machine Trilogy)
Convicted (Book 1 of the Paradigm Shift Trilogy) begins the story by explaining how after being beaten and emotionally bruised by two ex-husbands, Hope Anderson seeks the comfort she once felt within her family church. Upon her first visit back, she sits on the last row to secure her anonymity. Desperate to find comfort and acceptance, Hope felt judgmental eyes instead. Regularly plagued by fear and paranoia, Hope seeks counsel and finds it through a female evangelist on television. The woman’s depiction of love and her explanation of a spiritual journey prompts Hope to ask God for the same. He grants her request. Hope is taught how to pray effectively because of her journey with the Holy Spirit. With intercession, Hope is also granted supernatural gifts of spiritual sight and hearing. She faces demons bravely through her faith in the Holy Spirit to help others.
When Hope’s journey is over, she does not turn her back on her church or on her colleagues at work. Convicted, she boldly stands and fights for them using her superpowers. It is through this process that Hope learns to love herself and other people and to forgive.
Living happily with her Lord, Hope is faced once again with what caused her immense fear and paranoia. The fight for her life begins, and it is the worst physical and spiritual battle imaginable!


CONVINCED (Book 2 of The Paradigm Shift Trilogy)

Raven Price CommissionedA prophecy is starting over. Heaven holds a meeting so the last piece of a puzzle can be found. Jesus chooses Gina Grimes, a strong willed, self-serving and unchurched young woman to complete the team.
For Jesus’ plan to work, the Holy Spirit has to first convince Gina her lifestyle isn’t great. He uses Caylee Sellers, Gina’s happy-go-lucky co-worker, to convince her there is a better life with the Lord. Once Gina submits to Jesus, he sends her a guardian angel. But when the angel called Ox arrives on the scene to guard her, he sees that Satan is already focused on Gina and is determined to ruin or kill Jesus’ new convert before the Lord’s seed of faith can take root.
A battle of wills begins and in the process Gina gets physically hurt. To counter act the situation Satan caused, the Holy Spirit uses another strategy on Gina to produce an effect that will shape her outlook and give her a supernatural way to contour nearly every action and thought.
While Gina physically heals, the Holy Spirit makes sure Gina finds new friends who are also equipped with guardian angels and various powers. Jesus’ plan starts working. Gina gains strength with the Holy Spirit’s guidance, Ox’s presence and her new friend’s assurance. Will she find what she craves before all hell breaks out?


COMMISSIONED (Book 3 of the Paradigm Shift Trilogy) picks up where Convinced left off. After Gina Grimes places Satan under her feet, Jesus declares a war. One factor remained before He could follow through with His war. God, insisted He free Satan’s harlot before proceeding with the annihilation.
After Jesus releases the harlot, for one year, the Holy Spirit, also known as Whisperer, will narrate the story behind the commissioned. He will lead readers through more escapades involving the heroes and heroines of the first two books while explaining how they harvest souls for God’s kingdom. After telling how Pastor Craig Reed is transformed into the vessel God uses to preach the true meaning of love, Jesus unleashes his final battle that affects the old harlot and gives her a purpose.
Who is this harlot that Jesus redeems? Why did God insist she be saved from Satan before Jesus started a war? How is she transformed to create a paradigm shift for mankind to follow? Find the answer to these questions and see how her decision and actions affect all of humanity.




What influenced your decision to self-publish?

I had a previous contract with another publisher, but the books were priced too high and it forced me to rethink my career.  Self-publishing was a great decision.



Price is so important when it comes to selling books. You would think publishers would know that, but they don’t seem to. What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?

I love being in total control of my work.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

The only thing I miss is having someone’s help with marketing and planning book signing events.



Who designed your book cover/s?



Do you belong to a writer’s cooperative? Describe your experience with that.

Yes.  I belong to South Georgia Writer’s Guild.  All of the authors share helpful tips, encouragements as well attending events together.




Do you write specifically for a Christian audience? Why or why not?

I am a Christian fiction writer, but my books are not just geared to a Christian audience.   All women, not just Christian women will enjoy my books because they are sweet romances with fantasy elements that will keep their interests.


What are some of the special challenges of being a Christian writer?

People think since you write Christian themed books that you will be a preachy, judgmental writer.  I’m the opposite of this.  I try to inspire, and encourage women who feel forgotten, abused, and weak.  I love empowering my readers with hope and happy endings.


Christians are told to be “in the world, but not of it.” As a Christian writer, how do you write to conform to that scripture?

I’m glad you asked.  I truly believe in a spiritual existence, where we can be better people, know true love and grow as strong, well-rounded people.  Without having a sense of a pure undefiled place, our realities would cause our brains to malfunction.  Everyone must be able fantasize, dream or wish upon the proverbial star.  I write a lot about the spiritual realm where angels live and fight for us.


How do readers find you and your books?






Announcing “Missing the Point”   Leave a comment

Missing the Point by PJ Fiala

I’m so excited to release Missing the Point for so many reasons.

First and foremost, this is a series I’ve thought about for a long time.  You see, my father’s parents were both born and raised in Kentucky.  My grandfather came from a very poor family and on top of that, his father divorced his mother when he was very little, about 2 or 3.  Divorce today isn’t thought of in a negative way, back then it was horrible.  My great-grandmother did remarry and the man she married, took my grandfather as part of the package, but the stigma remained.  As a result, my grandfather lied about his age as a 16 year old and joined the Army.  He wanted a new beginning and he was willing to do what it took to find it.  The thing is, he’d met my grandmother before hand at a church dance and he didn’t want to leave her behind.  He went to boot camp and as soon as he could come back, he did, and he married my grandmother, but they’d need to leave Kentucky.  Grandpa stayed in the Army for many years, and after leaving the Army, my grandparents settled in Missouri.  My grandmother went back to Kentucky every year to visit her sisters and brothers and their children, my grandfather only went back periodically, the bad memories just couldn’t be erased, no matter the situation.

As a result of my grandmother going back each year, as I got to be a bit older, I got to travel with her to Kentucky and spend several weeks.  I remember those times fondly and they’ve ingrained in me a sense of family, easy times and a long-ago world.  Now, as an adult, I go back as often as I can to visit my father’s cousins and my cousins.  My dad’s cousin, Janet Sue, still lives on the family farm my grandmother grew up on and visiting there is such a treat for me.  So, as a result, I always knew I wanted to write stories that took place in Kentucky.

Fiala Missing the Point1Secondly, my friend and fellow author, Stephany Tullis created Chandler County with me and this was truly a labor of love.  We knew from the beginning we wanted to invite other authors to write in Chandler County with us, so we could share this world with them and all of our readers.

It is with great pride and pleasure that I release my first book in Chandler County, Missing the Point.  This book is the first of my books in Chandler County but certainly not the last.  Sam McKenzie is an Army veteran who has finally retired after 25 years.  He and three of his friends have started Bluegrass Security in the little town of Bourbonville, one of two towns in Chandler County.  As the Kentucky Derby nears, the over-flow of people coming to Chandler County brings with it trials and tribulations and as the locals deal with these and other scenarios, we get to know many of the residents in Bourbonville.

Stephanie (Stevie) Jorgenson is a detective in Chandler County.  Though she comes from a wealthy ranch family, she made her own way in the world and followed her dreams.  Keeping Chandler County safe is her top priority.  When she meets the handsome security specialist from Bluegrass Security, there is an immediate spark and the two succumb to the attraction, but neither believes anything more should come of it.  Life, circumstance and intrigue follow the pair as they are thrown together time after time dealing with some terrible situations in Bourbonville.

I hope you’ll enjoy Missing the Point and the books of my fellow authors in Chandler County.

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Interview with Stevie Turner   4 comments

Stevie Turner is a long-time friend from the Open Book Blog Hop and I finally got her to interview with me. Welcome to the blog, Stevie. Tell us something about yourself:

StevieTurner AuthorPicI’m a British author, married with 2 sons and 4 grandchildren, and live in the East of England. I worked for many years as a medical secretary in a busy NHS hospital, but took early retirement in 2014 due to side-effects from thyroid cancer treatment (I’m in remission now).  I’ve only been writing seriously since 2013, and since then I’ve written 8 novels, 4 novellas, and 18 short stories.  I’ve also just finished my memoir ‘Waiting in the Wings’, which will be published on November 30th.



Wow. That’s a lot of production in a short time. At what point did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Since the age of 11 when I won an inter-schools’ writing competition.  I’d always enjoyed writing stories even before the win, but once I received my certificate there was no stopping me!  When a London literacy agency debated for a week in 2014 about whether to sign up my debut novel, I couldn’t sleep for the excitement of it.  However, the consensus of opinion was that it needed rewriting, and so that’s what I’m doing now.



What is your favourite genre…to read…to write?

Stevie HouseI love writing family relationship dramas, humorous books and also suspense stories.  However, I prefer to read autobiographies or biographies.



What is something you cannot live without?

Due to having only one working vocal cord, I cannot live without a bottle of water by my side, as my voice will dry up altogether if I don’t sip water at regular intervals.



Do you write from an outline or are you a discovery writer? Why?


I never write from an outline.  My stories sometimes end up quite differently to how I originally thought.  It’s great to make it all up as I go along, because then even I don’t know how it’s going to end!


I’m going to drop you in a remote Alaskan cabin for a month.  It’s summer, so you don’t have to worry about freezing to death.  I’ll supply the food and the mosquito spray.  What do you do while you’re there, and what do you bring with you?


Steve SakeOkay, so if the cabin is remote, then there’ll be no Internet.  In that case I’ll bring a portable CD player, loads of batteries and a pile of rock, blues and reggae CD’s.  I can then play the music as loud as I like and dance around the cabin without anybody laughing at me.  I’ll also take my Kindle and a few autobiographies to read.  At the moment I’m reading Phil Collins’ ‘I’m Not Dead Yet’ and Davina McCall’s ‘Lessons I’ve Learned’.  I’ll also bring my walking shoes for some rambling about outside.


If someone who hasn’t read any of your novels asked you to describe your writing, what would you say?

I’d say a lot of my work is based on the intricacies of family relationships, which is written from past experiences or knowledge I’ve gained over the years from talking to others.  I’m always fascinated by human behaviour and why people do what they do, and how their childhoods shape the adult they become.


Talk about your books individually:


Stevie RepentAll my books can be found on my Amazon author page:


I think maybe there’s too many to name, so I’ll just concentrate on the main ones:

Repent at Leisure is a women’s fiction family drama/suspense novel that has been nominated for one of the Read Freely’s 50 Best Indie Books of 2016.  All votes will be gratefully received!



A House Without Windows is a suspense/thriller which has gained 401 ratings on Goodreads, and has won a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award in 2015 and a New Apple Book Award in 2014.



The Daughter-in-law Syndrome is another family relationship drama which made the Stevie LifeNew Apple Book Awards official selection list in 2015. Daughters-in-law sometimes get the short straw, especially if they have to compete with their husband’s sisters, as Arla Deane found out.



For the Sake of a Child is my most popular novella, focusing on a housekeeper’s discovery of a paedophile network going on in the offices she cleans, and the effect that this discovery has on her family.



Life: 18 Short Stories About Significant Life Events is free to anybody who signs up to my mailing list.  It has won a Readers’ Favorite 5 star seal this year.



No Sex Please, I’m Menopausal!  and The Pilates Class are humorous novels.  I have quite a dry sense of humour, and so…




Stevie WaitingA Rather Unusual Romance is not only a romance, but is also partly based on a situation I have lived through myself, though not the romance bit!



Waiting in the Wings  is my new memoir, detailing the perils of ageing and also focusing on how my mother and I have grown together in the past few years as I have taken on the role of her part-time carer.




What do you want readers to think or feel after reading one of your books?


The same as one chap did when he read one of my novels ‘The Donor’. He said that he now wanted to read every single book I’d ever written!


That is a great compliment. What influenced your decision to self-publish?


The difficulty that authors who are not celebrities face in acquiring a literary agent.  However, I will eventually be sending my debut novel back to the London agency when I have re-written it.


What do you find to be the greatest advantage of self-publishing?


The control you have over your work as regards pricing and alterations.


Conversely, what do you think self-published authors might be missing out on?

The clout of a literary agent to champion your work and put it forward for competitions and awards.


Do you believe that self-published authors can produce books as high-quality as the traditionally published?


Sure, if they’re very computer literate or want to spend, spend, spend on editors and cover artists etc. Some of my books are published through, an Independent publisher, who does a much better job than I could ever do.  Eventually I hope all of them will be published through Creativia, as although I can do all the proofreading okay, I probably fall a bit short on the layout.


Do you have a special place where you write?


Yes, at my computer in my front room.  My husband works from home upstairs in his office, and I work downstairs.  We meet up for tea and lunch breaks!


When you’re not writing, what do you do?


I’ll be reading or out walking around the Suffolk countryside where I live.  In the summer you’ll find me at a music festival or two (or three).


You can reach Stevie at the following locations:

Links to social media:




Amazon Author Page (worldwide):  












WordPress Blog:










Stay Tuned for Writing Wednesday   1 comment

Author interview (already scheduled) and maybe an article. Who am I kidding? I’m pretty absorbed in writing A Threatening Fragility. We’ll see.

Posted April 11, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in writing wednesday

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